Making Space into Place: York University's 6th Annual Eco-Art and Media Festival

Article excerpt


Natasha Myers

Art and activism combine powerfully to generate new ways of communicating about environmental issues. The pairing of environmentalism with art has been such an important facet for both teaching and learning at the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES), York University, that an annual Eco-Art and Media Festival was launched 6 years ago. The focus of the 2000 festival, Making Space into Place, was finding creative ways of expressing human relationships to nature and celebrating the places in which we dwell. Making Space into Place is an important theme for commuter schools such as York University where the majority of students, faculty, and staff who live, learn, and work in this space are still reluctant to call it "home."

By bringing artistic expression, imagination, and collective energy to the common spaces of the campus, the festival generated the momentum for on-going initiatives to make the spaces we inhabit into places we can call home. The week of activities at the 2000 Eco-Art and Media Festival explored ways of "reclaiming space" including: a forum on greening the campus, attended by York University's president, Lorna Marsden, and members of the newly appointed Sustainability Task Force; a forum on the links between ecology and diverse spiritual traditions; an exhibition to promote cycling at York University; multi-media performances; movement and sculpture workshops; and a Gala Celebration with film screenings, visual arts, theatre, storytelling, and music. …